What Ever Happened To Us?

FlagIt started slowly but now it has sped up to the point where everywhere you look we are losing what makes us, us. Australia, through the change in popular culture is becoming more like America.

The last bastion of Australian culture, the ABC, is now falling into the grip of the continual Americanisation of our culture and language.

A lot of people blame movies and TV for the creep of the new culture into the Australian way of life, I however disagree. I watch TV shows and movies that are produced in the US, however I continue to keep my Australian culture and heritage as a badge of honour. It appears to me to be more of a case of laziness that is creating this new culture.

Everyone who was born in the late 70’s through to today is brought up watching TV shows like Playschool and Humphrey B Bear which are made here in Australia. We are also shown a lot of American children’s shows including Sesame Street.

I can not claim to know what the kindergarten teachers are doing in the current day but when I went to school in the 80’s we watched Sesame Street first thing in the morning which was followed by the reciting of the alphabet including the correction of Zee to Zed.

The books we read throughout my early school years were older and as such included a lot of the correct Australian spelling, including colour instead of color, programme instead of program and gaol instead of jail.

With the increase in popularity and use of the internet, and its strong American bias, parents should now, more than ever, be carful to ensure that Americanisms do not make their way into their children’s lifestyle.

If people were to stop and think about the effort that those who built this country went through, the original convicts through to the nation building immigrants, they would not be so self-centred or congratulatory, nor would they be so impatient and inconsiderate.

Australia was built with hard work and giving everyone a fair go. While the entertainment from America can be a way for everyone in the world to relax and take their minds off their current issues, it should not be what we gauge ourselves, our lifestyle or our country on.

What’s So Special About 1 Day?

FireworksThe year is over, a new one has begun and with it new decade.

Each New Year’s Eve skies around the world are lit up with fireworks and lights marking the beginning of the new year. This one was no different.

For New Year’s Eve 2009 I was invited to join the celebrations at The Entrance on the New South Wales Central Coast. This was to be the last time that I will ever go to one of those events.

First let’s look at the fireworks from a spectator perspective.

The Fireworks always take place in a main civic gathering area, often parks or waterfronts to allow for a maximum number of people to watch the event and to hopefully give them a clear view. Unfortunately, due to the very nature of parks and waterfronts, unless the people in charge of the fireworks in some way inform everybody exactly where the light show will be taking place, a lot of people will get a new view of trees with pretty colours appearing behind them.

After the majority of the fireworks have been spent there is the issue of smoke. Depending on the direction and speed of the wind either one area will get a lot of smoke as during and for a short time after the event or all the areas in viewing distance will be shrouded in smoke towards the end to the show. While the smoke, for the most part, is non toxic and not overly pungent, the fact that you will have to sit, stand and walk through a thick soup of smoke is not the kind of experience I wish to partake in on the night.

If we look at fireworks from the perspective of someone that has no interest in them we end up with a couple of things depending on the person’s situation.

If the person has animals, mostly dogs, they will quiet often spend most of the night dealing with upset and scared animals that will not behave as they normally would, and in some extreme cases can be mentally scared for life due to the loud unusual noise.

If the person has either animals that are used to the noise or can cope with it, or the person has already taken issue with the operation of governments, local, state or federal, they will see the use of fireworks as a waste of money that could be better spend on improving conditions in the area that said government is in charge of.

Many people see New Year’s Eve as an excuse for excessive drinking and a level of public discourse.

Each year on New Year’s Eve around the world police organisations are fully staffed to cope with any illegal activities that might affect the safety or comfort of others. The main culprit for this is the party atmosphere that is created with the creation of the government funded fireworks events. People are injured and even killed going to, from or even at these events and private ones that pop up due to the taxing of police resources.

While not completely against the bringing in of a new year I do feel that it could be toned down a little to reduce the number of issues that arise on this one night.

As for the idea of New Year’s resolutions; quiet often people aim too high and they try and focus too much on what they wish they could do and what they feel they could achieve in a new year they couldn’t achieve the year before.

It would make sense to either not bother with New Year’s resolutions or aim a lot lower, say put $5 a week in a money box. It’s doable and by the end of the year you will see a major benefit, $260 to spend on Christmas or New Year’s celebrations the following year.

Fah La La La La, La La La What?

ChristmasNext week is Christmas. Is it the same Christmas as it was years ago? I say no.

While I am not a religious person the complete commercialism of Christmas is a complete lack of understanding what is important.

Christmas to me is a time of year where you spend time with family thinking about what is important in your life, not the endless purchase of things or the building of flashing homes of lights. Nor is it a time to spoil children with the endless stream of toys that will only be used for at most a few months then broken or lost.

It is understood that Christmas is said to be the birthday of Jesus the son of God, however if you have at any stage thought about either Easter or Hanukkah you will notice their dates change each year. They are based more off the older calendars that match closer to the years Jesus was said to be alive.

On Christmas my family, like most others, spend many hours fighting on Christmas day mostly due to the stress of organising a big lunch however I always take a time out to think about what is important and being thankful for what I have.

Unless my work requires me to join in the commercialisation of Christmas, I try and ignore as much as I can and focus on trying to bring some joy to other people including those who I don’t know but who either catch my bus or need me to fix their computer.

Christmas is a time for family and reflection not for the endless buying of trinkets, while the after Christmas sales do quiet often allow for people to save money on products they need or want the madness of trying to get organised early, or at the last minute causes more than enough problems.

This is the silly season but shouldn’t be. Slow down, stop and think about what you have and what you are doing. From buying presents or food to just driving to see family and friends at this time of year think about everyone else and take it easy, the world is not going to end if you don’t get what you are after, nor is it going to end if you have to wait 15 seconds longer in traffic.

Over the Christmas New Year period relax enjoy your family, if you can, and take a breath it will all be over in a couple of weeks then things return to normal.

Love Thy Neighbour, If You Know Them

NeighbourI’m the first to admit it, over the last few years I have noticed I don’t often talk to my neighbours. The main reason behind that is mostly due to my extreme work load and partially because they don’t often talk to me either.

One part of the problem not talking to neighbours is due to people that rent houses instead owning it which leads to them moving house quiet often.

A recent survey by That’s Life magazine in Australia found that most Australians admit to being a bad neighbour, more than 60 percent don’t know their neighbour due to more people keeping to themselves.

While I do still talk to my neighbours I don’t do it quiet as often I used to in most cases. One of my neighbours I have only said hello to a couple of times since they moved in about a month ago.

Years ago when I had a couple of hours down time I used to go into my neighbours house and have a chat with a cup of tea and caught up with everything they have done or has happened in the local area I didn’t know about.

With a lack of respect for other people and their property growing, a fear of what another person will do to you if you have a problem and the increase in people renting as opposed to owning their home the culture of neighbourhoods has changed with mostly fear and a lack of respect controlling what people do now.

(Almost) 8 days A Week

NightIt’s Thursday night, a night people with jobs, and quiet often kids, head out to do their weekly shop with most shops open later than usual. Lately Thursday night has also become the first major night younger people head out to drink and meet up with friends.

When I was younger it was only a Saturday night we went out, then over the years Friday night was added to the night life and now Thursday has made it a trifecta of nights out on the drink.

The culture of going out to a night club has never been one I have understood. While going to the local pub or club for a dinner with family, friends, or even by yourself, is something that I myself have done on numerous occasions I have never gone out ever night nor have I drunk until I was without my wits.

With the cost of this “socialising” being more so than a night out at the local it must make the money needed to be earned by the younger people much greater than I and my generation needed when I was at that age.

Will the current situation remain into the future even when the people heading out on the three nights enter the real world of jobs and responsibility or will we see a 7 night drink-a-thon in the future with night clubs open every night and young people in a continual state of pickling each night?